I imagine your November calendar is full, like mine, with winter and holiday preparations thundering down upon us, plus all the things that must be done before the holidaze sets in. And Thanksgiving. I don't mean to start you singing holiday music yet!
In my book, November is the month for enjoying the last of the harvest, making plans for staying healthy through the winter, and plotting how to reduce refined products during the end-of-year binge. "Before the storms, make the plan" is our November mantra.
JLBA Patisserie 2nd Course,
California, September 2010
JLBA Raw Food Patisserie Level 1,
Tokyo, January 2011
As you read this, think of me teaching my three-times-a-year class of ardent Japanese students. Once a year, groups come to California to see what we do here, and twice each year I go there to teach. All of this is organized by a wonderful Japanese group, the Japan Living Beauty Association. The language and cultural differences are immense, but somehow I always come away from our time together thinking that working with these differences brings more "living beauty" into the world.
My Autumn has been very full. I just returned from my last 2011 session at Living Light in Fort Bragg (California) attended by students from around the world, and from Las Vegas and the Living Light FUNdamentals of Raw and Living Foods Road Show. This exciting program packs 17 fast-paced classes into one day! Every time we take the show to a new city we experience new challenges and experiences. The Road Show classes allow potential Living Light students to experience our teaching styles, taste the recipes, and benefit from the information without going all the way to the Mendocino Coast. For those considering the Living Light Culinary Program, this introduction gives them credit toward Living Light credential.
I have been helping friends at Bella Vita incorporate more raw and living foods into their curriculum. This project is very close to my heart, as you know, because I give this kind of work full credit for saving my life not very long ago. Eating consciously, and integrating food into a conscientious approach to achieving and maintaining health is critically important work for all of us, no matter how busy we are. It is encouraging, working with these students who have gotten "the wake-up call" and are re-taking control of their lives.
For me, November's excitement comes because my friend and hero, Robin Lim of Bumi Sehat, the Balinese mother-helping organization I sponsor, has been included among CNN's Top Ten "Heroes for 2011." This means she is already in line for a grant, but she is also in the running for their Number One Hero for 2011. All ten heroes are amazing and their causes righteous, but from personal experience I know that Robin and Bumi Sehat deserve to win.
And here's how it works: you choose your hero from the ten shown, and then "authenticate" your vote by giving your email address or your FaceBook identity. In the first case, you will receive an email from CNN with a link that you click ...and you're done. A bit of a hassle, I know, but there is serious money involved, and I understand that they want "real people" voting. You can vote ten times a day through December 7th and you only have to verify your email address once.
In late April / early May 2012 I'm going to Bali to deliver funds from the sales of Nut Milk Bags to my two sponsored organizations there, Bumi Sehat and Yayasan Widya Guna Orphanage. I want to thank all of you who have already made purchases and contributed to this fund. If CNN's voting procedure is too weird, and you want to vote a sure thing, remember that a portion of the proceeds from every sale of my Nut Milk Bags goes to support these two worthy organizations.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has been creating a lot of local interest, even in the raw food community, because it is directed against the same corporate greed and arrogance that has poisoned our food supply. But we don't like to throw much energy into actions against. We like to be for things.
We love the localization movement, especially with regard to food. My friends at The International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC) explain the problem this way in a recent newsletter: "Around the world, the realization is dawning that the crises we face are linked—from unemployment and poverty to Wall Street corruption, from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to the burning forests of Indonesia, from growing fundamentalism to the genetically-modified fields of Africa. People are beginning to see there is one root cause: the corporate global economy."
Because I much prefer pro-action to reaction, you will find me offering my support for the Truth in GMO Labeling movement that I have been reporting about in this newsletter for several months. So in that spirit I want to suggest, even as the storms of Winter threaten, a positive Go Shopping in your Garden movement. A garden can be very small, one square foot -- there is a great book, Square Foot Gardening, that can help even someone with a "black thumb" get started growing a little bit of food -- or a parsley or basil plant in a pot, yet you may be surprised by how much flavor and pride this little bit adds to your enjoyment of food.
As I write this, my friend and collaborator Michael is in Sicily enjoying food harvested in line with the growing "Shopping Kilometer Zero" movement in Europe. This means, getting food that has not traveled more than one kilometer (a little over half a mile) from farm to table. I have benefited from the same localization efforts here, and I believe that reducing the distance food travels is a powerful force for quality food. If you can't shop in your own garden, arrange to share with friends and neighbors who do have gardens and green thumbs; I am constantly amazed by how many gardens are sprouting up wherever I look! If there's a farmers market nearby, let me encourage you to make whatever changes are necessary to shop there for part of your food. You will be delighted by the quality, and by how good it feels to know the people who grow your food.
I told you about my gradual "one step at a time" plan for reducing the amount of refined sugar in the family diet in the March 2011 newsletter, and again I want to propose a similar "every day, a little better" program of stepwise improvement in the quality of your food by reducing the distance it travels from the farm to your table. The research is very clear: the shorter this distance gets, the healthier the food AND the eaters. Besides bananas, really, if it comes from another continent, do you need it?
I am often asked, what is the best dryer? Excalibur Dehydrator (www.excaliburdehydrator.com) is the dehydrator my professional colleagues talk most glowingly about, and I have to agree. They are a family company, based in Sacramento. The sisters who run the company are raw food chefs. I love to support them, because they have a great product. In fact, I have THREE Excaliburs and this time of year, they are all going strong drying fruit for the lean months ahead.
For folks who haven't already tried raw cranberry relish, this recipe is also an adventure and an experiment, and we offer it in that spirit. Rawsome Cranberry Relish is more than good to eat, it is good for you: wonderfully cleansing and a perfect accompaniment to the often-heavy foods we associate with Thanksgiving: click for the recipe.
My garden boxes are quiet now, but the fruit trees have been pumping out all sorts of treasures. Pears and apples are finished, but persimmons are just beginning. We have seven persimmon trees, yep, not sure why anyone would plant that many, but they did, and we inherited them when we moved in seven years ago. Mike and I love dried persimmons, the Japanese Fuyu variety. They are wonderful in salads along with pomegranate seeds that are also appearing at market. Persimmons dry beautifully and our friends have come to anticipate them as our offering for the gift giving season.
Once again, friends, thank you for reading my monthly ramblings. I love knowing that so many of you are on the same trail, at least some of the time ...and that we are all headed for the same destination: good health. Happy Thanksgiving.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month....
I'm still excited that CNN noticed one of my heroes, Ibu Robin, of Bumi Sehat Foundation......
We invite you to connect with us and share your kitchen adventures. Please like Rawsome Creations on Facebook or follow @Rawsome_Creations on Instagram for contests, ideas, and updates. Just use #MoreThanaNUTMILKBAG on Instagram and @Rawsome_Creations will follow you and re-post. Get pinning with Rawsome Creations' boards on Pinterest.